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How to Make Wooden Photo Blocks

18 Feb

A while ago I got a Groupon for Wooden Photo Blocks and I thought, “ I bet I could make that.” So I found a few tutorials online and chose my favorite. This video was my favorite one:

I liked that you could still see the wood grain through the picture, giving it a cool look. I mostly followed her technique with a few variations. Here’s how it went down:

Step 1 – Get Supplies

Hobby Lobby had the Gel Medium, Mod Podge, and paintbrushes. I went to Lowe’s for the wood. I chose a piece of wood 11 inches wide and about 4 feet long. I had a nice man at Lowe’s cut the wood into three 11×14 pieces.

Step 2 – Print Your Pictures

Make sure to print your pictures on normal paper (no finish) with a laser printer. I’ve heard that pictures printed with inkjet printers will run. I had my pictures printed at Kinko’s on 12×18 paper to make sure my photo went all the way to the edges of the wood. Oh, I also printed the mirror image of my photo so it would be normal once it transferred to the wood.

Step 3 – Sand the Wood

Sand your wood pieces to make sure the surface is smooth enough to absorb the picture. I also rounded the edges a little bit to give them a softer look.

Step 4 – Apply Gel Medium

Apply the gel medium on the wood evenly. Make sure to get the edges completely, otherwise the picture won’t stick and peal when you remove the paper.

Step 5 – Place Picture on Wood Block

Place your picture face down and smooth out all the bubbles and wrinkles.

Step 6 – Let Dry

I let my pictures dry for a full 24 hours just to be safe. That worked well for me.

Step 7 – Remove the paper

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Wet the paper with water and GENTLY start removing the paper. I used the same fingertip technique the girl used in the video. When you get to the edges, rub toward the edges to avoid tearing or actually rubbing off the picture.

Step 8 – Apply Vegetable Oil

This part is not in the video. I found that once I had removed the excess paper, there was still some paper residue left on the image. When the paper was wet it looked great, but when totally dry it had a cloudy look. The vegetable oil bring clarity back to the photo. I applied the veggie oil with a sponge brush.

Step 9 – Brush on Mod Podge

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Quickly after applying the vegetable oil, I brushed on the Mod Podge. Once the Mod Podge dried, the surface was still pretty oily from the vegetable oil. So I rubbed the surface with the paper towel and reapplied the Mod Podge. I did this three times and the oily residue was gone.


Step 10 – Hang Your Photo Blocks

I attached ribbon to my photo blocks from which to hang them.



It’s been a few months since I did this project and things have changed. After a few months, the paper little paper that was left on the wood must have dried and started to show throw. It started in little sections and then eventually the whole picture was cloudy.

I ended up peeling off the picturing, sanding the wood again, printing the picture again (not flipped), and just Mod Podging the pictures directly onto the wood block. I’m sad that you can’t see the wood grain, but they still look good without transferring the picture.

How to Reupholster A Chair

13 Feb

I wanted to try reupholstering a chair forever but was way too scared to do it. But my schedule cleared up – unemployment – just enough for me to make an attempt. ☺ Here’s how it went:

Step 1: Find a Chair

Doug had this little Ikea chair he didn’t really like and I thought it was a cute shape.
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Step 2: Make a Pattern

I made a pattern out of an old white sheet, so I could write all over it and make notes. I pinned the sheets up to the chair and marked along the seams of the chair. I gave myself at least a 1 inch seam allowance to account for mistakes.

Step 3: Test the Pattern

Essentially, I made two chair covers: the practice/pattern and the final version. There’s probably an easier way to do this, but I wasn’t brave enough to start cutting into real fabric before I tested everything out.

Sew all the pieces together except the front piece of the arm. Once sewn, place it inside out on the chair and pin the front arm piece to the practice cover.

Note: When sewing the rounded edge of the front arm piece to the straight edge of the chair arm, sew with the straight edge on top. If you try to cater the straight edge to the rounded edge, it will get all weird and you’ll end up with pleats where you don’t want them. That principle applies to the rounded cushion pieces, too.

Step 4: Alter

Once everything is sewn together (including arm pieces), put your practice cover on the chair inside out. Pin any loose areas to make sure everything fits perfectly. Sew the corrections. Repeat as needed.

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Step 5: Finalize Your Pattern

After everything fits just right, I took my pattern apart and recut my pattern with a ½ inch seam allowance from the final stitch lines.

Step 6: Cut Your Upholstery Fabric

Using your perfect pattern, pin and cut the pieces of your upholstery fabric.

Note: I found this really good Fabric place in Orem called Home Fabrics. It’s right next to Michael’s on University Parkway. They have tons of really cute upholstery fabric and none of it costs more than $13/yard.

Step 7: Sew Final Chair Cover

Sew your chair pieces together with a ½ seam allowance. Pin and Sew the front arm pieces to the rest of the chair cover using the same technique as the practice cover to ensure the fabric lays right.

To secure the back of my cushion, I used a long piece of Velcro instead of a zipper. I wasn’t about to try to be precise enough for a zipper. The Velcro was very forgiving, which worked out very well for me. ☺

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Step 8: Staple

I used Doug’s staple gun for this part. If you have real upholstery tools and junk, use that, but staples worked well for me. It’s better to have two people for this step so one person can hold the fabric tight while the other staples.

First, I stapled around the inside of the chair where the cushion sits. Then we flipped the chair over to staple the fabric to the bottom of the chair. If your chair legs can be removed, do it. We were able to unscrew the chair’s legs and replace them after we finished stapling.

Step 9: Final Touches

On my chair, the very front of the chair is actually three separate pieces: two arm pieces and a rectangle piece covering the chair just underneath the cushion. The picture below shows the gap left between the two arm pieces.

So I just measured the width of the cushion base and added an inch for a ½ inch seam allowance on each side. Then I hemmed both sides and stapled the piece of fabric to the top and bottom of the chair.


New York, New York

16 Sep


About a month ago I had the pleasure of returning to one of my very favorite places with a few of my very favorite people. I wasn’t sure how to write this post as it would end up being a boring list of all the things we did. So instead I’ve decided to share one choice – and totally embarrassing – experience with some pictures. Here we go…

Doug and I had just gotten off the redeye from SLC to NYC. The flight was sufficiently horrible. Between the two of us, we probably got an hour of sleep. We made it through baggage claim and got a cab around 5 am.

Around 6 am, we pulled up to my dear friend Monica’s apartment. We were so excited to get in and take a nap but before that could happen, we had to haul our bags up a 5-floor walkup. Naturally.

After napping for a couple hours, we got ready for the day. When I got out of the shower, I thought it would be a fine idea to wear the same shorts I wore on the plane for the rest of the day. So in a tired stupor, I slipped them back on.

Doug and I proceeded to walk EVERYWHERE. We went all over the Upper West Side to check out my old neighborhood, took a short jaunt through the park, went all through the Museum of Natural History, grabbed lunch, then walked back to Monica’s for a much needed second nap.

When we woke up we met Monica when she finished work. We walked through the park and ended our travels in Lincoln Square. The night was beautiful, so we decided to sit and talk on the fountain in the middle of Lincoln Center (you may know about this fountain from such blockbuster hits as Ghostbusters).

The night was truly magical. It made me miss the city so much. Then I noticed something. Something troubling. I felt the back of my thigh and wondered what had happened to me. I stayed calm as not to startle Doug and Monica. There was a long lump going all the way up my thigh. What could have caused such a thing?!

The lump was almost to the bottom of my shorts, so I did a quick swipe with my finger to discover something hidden from my earlier trip … my underwears! Hahahahaha! Yes, that’s right. They had come along for the long ride without my knowledge or anyone else’s, for that matter.

Without telling Monica or Doug, we walked over to a nearby restaurant. While we were eating, Doug had to take a call, giving me the perfect opportunity to tell Monica of my misfortune. She and I laughed and laughed then she was insistent that I remove the foreign piece of clothing. With the sexiest move you’ve ever seen, I pulled them quickly out of the bottom of my short and stowed them safely in my purse. Again, without anyone being the wiser.

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Glass Blowing

19 Jul

For those of you who don’t know what glass blowing is, I’m about to blow your mind. I watched a documentary a few years ago about Dale Chihuly glass and I have been dying to do it ever since. Then one day I was walking through Thanksgiving Point and found this place that lets you do it!

I was crazy excited about my discovery, so I made Doug go with me for his birthday. ☺ This is how it goes down:

1. They take a pole and dip it in this a cauldron of hot flowing magma/liquid glass. Already the thought of liquid glass is nuts, but it’s even more nuts when you look in the furnace it sits in. It is seriously like looking into the center of the sun. Even though the walls of the oven and the bowl holding the glass are metal, everything in the oven is the same glowing orange color. You’re not really sure what you’re looking at. But you’re pretty sure it will cause you to go blind. Oh, and the oven is about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. You take the pole out of the oven and start to spin it. The glass is super malleable, so if you hold the pole in one position too long, the glass will start running off the pole. So you have to keep it moving to maintain a round little blob.

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3. Then you add your color. There are little colored glass beads you dip your glass blob in. This is way harder than it sounds. You have to continue spinning the pole while you dip the blob in the beads, without making a huge mess with the beads … Doug. ☺

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4. Once your beads are stuck to your blob, you take your blob to another oven that seals your color in.

5. When everything is sufficiently melted together, you take the pole and blob over to your little workbench where the magic begins. You start by making your blob into a disc.

6. You grab giant tweezers and start pulling little pieces around the edge of the disc as you spin the pole, forming the flower. P.S. This was way harder than I thought it would be. The Youtubes made it look like it was pulling taffy, but then you realize, “Hey, this is hardening liquid glass.”

7. Once you have the shape you want for your flower, you grab the end of your flower and pull out to form the stem. If you want a curling stem, you just hold your flower still while you spin the pole.

8. Then they take a blowtorch to seal the end of your flower.

9. Cool down. They put the flowers in ovens that cool the glass at 200 degrees per hour.

When you’re done making your flower, the glass is about 900 degrees, despite the fact that it’s totally hard. Crazy.

There you have it. This is seriously one of the coolest things I have ever done and I insist that everyone tries it.

Here are our flowers. I went a little crazy experimenting with my camera. Sorry …